Views from ...

Canadian-European nuclear cooperation key to meeting climate change challenge

Mar 9, 2021

John Gorman, President and CEO, Canadian Nuclear Association

The Canadian and European nuclear industries have been collaborating for decades, including in 1959 when we signed the Agreement for Cooperation in the Peaceful Uses of Atomic Energy. Our partnership has only grown since then. Canadian CANDU reactors have been in service in Romania for nearly 30 years, while European companies have provided components to the Canadian nuclear sector and are recognized internationally for their technology know-how. 

Most recently, in January 2021, the Canadian Nuclear Association (CNA) and FORATOM signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to collaborate in nuclear and promote clean, innovative and advanced nuclear technologies.

The signing represents the next chapter in Canada and Europe’s positive relationship to achieve common goals, including:

  • Ensuring that climate change is addressed (aiming for net zero emissions targets by 2050).
  • Ensuring that nuclear is part of the clean energy mix to meet the climate change challenge.
  • Promoting the benefits of the nuclear industry in terms of jobs, investments, innovation, and nuclear medicine.
  • Cooperating in common endeavors with European, Canadian and other international organizations to achieve our common goals related to climate change.
  • Developing the next evolution of nuclear technologies like small modular reactors (SMRs), and nuclear waste initiatives like deep geological repositories (DGRs).

As long-time, strategic partners, Canada and Europe share common values – including recognizing the importance of dealing with climate change and ensuring the health and safety of its citizens. Today, Canada is home to 19 nuclear power reactors. These produce clean, reliable electricity, representing 15 per cent of the country’s total electricity. Every year in Canada, nuclear energy avoids 80 million tonnes of CO2 emissions by displacing fossil fuels; supports 76,000 direct and indirect jobs; and contributes $17 billion in gross domestic product. The MOU between FORATOM and the CNA will allow for greater dialogue and collaboration around nuclear’s role in reaching environmental stewardship and economic development goals.

Governments around the world have pledged net-zero emission targets by 2050. Nuclear technologies will need to play an important role to meet these ambitious goals. Twenty years ago, we were at 36 per cent clean electricity on the world’s grids. Twenty years later, despite the growth of wind and solar, we’re still at 36 per cent.

We don’t have time to wait another 20 years to figure this out. Nuclear energy should be widely recognized as a clean technology by governments in Canada, Europe and around the world. The CNA looks forward to working together with FORATOM to make this happen. 


Pin It on Pinterest